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Katie Albers <[log in to unmask]>
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Katie Albers <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 22 May 2006 12:15:18 -0700
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I suspect that in both cases, the goal is to find out "What 
bird/tree/plant is that" and the end point is the name. If you 
already know the name, you do not refer to the identification tool. I 
also suspect that I am not the only person in the world who is prone 
to ask myself "Where am I?" and consider that the name of the 
location is usually a satisfactory answer. Things which do not have 
names make me (rationally or not) feel "un-placed." And that's why 
Mapquest's directions in Boston don't say "Get off 3 and go towards 
the big buildings."

You aren't going to design a perfect interface that is perfectly 
usable by everyone. Sooner or later, someone will ask another user a 
question about something. It's much easier to place the understanding 
and the misunderstanding if the questioner can say "What am I 
supposed to do on 'Edit' page?" rather than "What am I supposed to do 
on this page that has the 5 fields in the column on the left with the 
big field on the right?" In addition to minimizing the possibility of 
misunderstanding and error, you also need to minimize the difficulty 
of recovering from misunderstanding and error. And that's one of 
reasons names are needed.

Names provide a sense of familiarity and context. We "know" things by 
reference to their name. That's why things are named at all, ever. 
Well, that and the magic.


>So they can refer to it later. They do the same thing with birds. 
>But a picture works much better for identifying a flower or bird 
>than a name does. In fact, birding enthusiasts use something they 
>call GISS (general information shape and size) to identify birds. 
>The name is secondary.
>On May 22, 2006, at 10:46 AM, Hal Shubin wrote:
>>The problem about naming pages came up because I was unable to 
>>clearly refer to the four editing pages in this application while I 
>>was writing the usability report. Names are funny. When I show 
>>people plants in my garden, they always ask the name of the plant, 
>>even if they don't know about plants. Why? I dunno, but people 
>>really like naming things.
>Todd R. Warfel
>Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
>Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting

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